The UEFA Champions League final is just around the corner and once again it will be a side from Spain taking home the most iconic trophy in European football. Atlètico Madrid and Real Madrid will fight for the title, with Real Madrid the betting favourites at 6/4. Atlètico are priced at 9/4 with the draw at 23/10.
Real Madrid suffered an injury scare in training on Tuesday when Cristiano Ronaldo limped out of training with a thigh injury. Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane had admitted that the Portuguese had not been in peak condition after an injury forced him off when Real Madrid took on Villarreal back in Mid April.
French centre-back Raphael Varane is definitely ruled out of Saturday’s final with a thigh injury of his own, but James Rodriguez (ankle) and Alvaro Arbeloa (knee) should be available after minor knocks.
Alternatively, Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has a fully fit squad to choose from ahead of Saturday’s game.
“The only failure is not to give everything on the day. We have had time to prepare properly so let’s see how it goes on Saturday. It’s not enough just to have the ball. We are playing against a team that not only defends well – people talk about how well they defend – but Atletico Madrid are a very complete side. Pressure is always there when you are Real Madrid manager. I like it. I had it as a player and now it is ven greater as a coach.” – Real Madrid Manager Zinedine Zidane.
“I anticipate them playing like they did against Manchester City. In the Champions League they have played on the break in almost every game. They have used that to get space; tactically, I think they’ve been very good.” – Atletico Madrid Manager Zinedine Zidane
Although Atletico Madrid have form on their side, they will have to put in performances of a similar ilk to those displayed in their victories against Barcelona and Bayern Munich if they want to get their hands on the trophy. With the midfield condensed, they will be more than happy to allow Real Madrid to get the ball out wide and get crosses in the box. Despite the aerial strength of Cristiano Ronaldo, their centre-back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez have more than proved their worth when it comes to defending their penalty area.While Real will aim to wear their opponents down with their possession game, notably controlled by Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the industrious Atletico side will be a threat on the counter attack. Antoine Griezmann has already proven that he can infiltrate the Real Madrid defence with his pace, and his goal was the difference between the sides when they last met in February. Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke believes that his side are only out to make history on Saturday, but their motivation will be fueled by the events of 2014 final. Their ambition to avenge this defeat may swing the pendulum in their favour, but only just
As a repeat of the 2014 final, which was decided in extra-time, this year’s edition carries history behind it, with the rivalry between these Spanish giants continuing to gain momentum.Arguably the most influential player on the pitch has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. Having scored 16 goals with just two more needed to break his record of 17 goals in Madrid’s 2013-14 campaign, Ronaldo is obviously a severe threat to the Atlètico’s defence.Not to be outdone, Antoine Griezmann has been significant for Atlètico with seven goals at vital stages throughout the competition. Additionally, and certainly threatening due to his speed, terrific ball control and creativity on the outside, Saul Niguez is a player Real need to shutdown. Struggling in this year’s tournament, Fernando Torres needs to lift for Atlètico in the final. Although he has scored just one goal from eleven matches, Torres is the kind of player who could prove vital in a massive tie such as this one.
1-0 Atlètico Madrid Victory in 90 minutes
Harry- 0-0 full time. Atlètico to win 1-0 AET
DeLuca- Atlètico to win 1-0 in 90 minutes